Is the Mind a Machine? Dickerson & Orchard at UWaterloo

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Event Details

Power to Change, FaithTech, CSCA, and the Christian Reformed campus ministry at the University of Waterloo​​ are hosting a Veritas Forum.

Is the Mind a Machine? A Christian & Naturalistic Perspective

Free Public Lecture
Location: M3-1006 (Mathematics 3 Building), University of Waterloo

It is quite common in popular culture, especially in sci-fi, that the brain is essentially a “computer made out of meat.” But does this accurately represent human cognition? The mind might have machine-like qualities, but does this mean there is nothing more to it? Where do spiritual matters fit in? Come hear a dialogue between two very different perspectives on this fascinating topic!

Matthew Dickerson is Professor of Computer Science at Middlebury College in Vermont. In 2014, Prof. Matthew Dickerson completed his 25th year as a member of the computer science department at Middlebury College. He earned a BA from Dartmouth College in 1985 and PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University, and was the first faculty member with a Ph.D. in computer science hired by the college. During his 25 years at the college he has received more than ten federal funded research grants including grants through the National Academy of Sciences, NATO, and various NSF programs. His primary research area has been algorithms and data structures for geometric, geographic, and spatial computing—an area known as computational geometry in which he is internationally known for his work on Voronoi diagrams. He has also done research and published several papers on computer science education, and is in the final year of an NSF grant exploring the use of agent-based modeling in the introductory computer science curriculum. Currently, Professor Dickerson is working on a research project on spatially explicit agent-based modeling of killer whales in southeast Alaska in collaboration with biologists and computer scientists at the NOAA and the University of Alaska. (source, read more)

  • Note: earlier on Sep 20, at 4:30 – 6 PM, Dickerson will lecture on “The Mythological, Philological, and Theological Roots of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.” Click for more.

Jeff Orchard is Associate Professor of Computer Science, University of Waterloo. His research aim is to uncover mechanisms that underlie the computational and organizational aspects of the brain. For example, how are oscillations used, and how do our expectations influence our perceptions? He studies these questions at the level of neurons. His previous research was in image processing and medical imaging, and he currently teaches medical image processing. (source)


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